Buhari said he did not want the politics generated by his possible second term run to distract him from the important national matters.
President Muhammadu Buhari has explained why he declared his intention to seek re-election in 2019 before leaving Nigeria for the United Kingdom.
Buhari announced his second term ambition during the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on April 9, 2018, the same day he travelled to London.
He said he made the declaration because the politics generated by his possible second term run was getting in the way of important issues like security, economy, anti-corruption among others.
The President stated this when he received the Archbishop of Canterbury, His Grace Justin Welby in London on Wednesday, April 11, 2018.
"I declared before leaving home because Nigerians were talking too much about whether I would run or not. So, I felt I should break the ice. We have many things to focus on, like security, agriculture, economy, anti-corruption, and many others. We needed to concentrate on them, and politics should not be a distraction. The majority of Nigerians appreciate what we are doing, and that is why I am re-contesting," Buhari said.
The President recounted some of the achievements in office to Archbishop Welby, with whom, he has built a deep friendship in recent times.
"We have cut the importation of rice by about 90%, saving billions of dollars in the process. People who rushed into petrol money have now gone back to agriculture. Even professionals have gone back to the land. Nigeria should be able to feed itself comfortably soon. I am so pleased," he said.
Speaking on the anti-Boko Haram fight, Buhari stressed the need for continuous education of the people, "so that they can be free from religious manipulation," adding that no true religion advocates the hurting or killing of the innocent.
Responding to the cleric's comment on the clashes between herdsmen and farmers in different parts of Nigeria, he said the crisis predated his administration.
"The problem is even older than us. It has always been there, but now made worse by the influx of armed gunmen from the Sahel region into different parts of the West African sub-region. These gunmen were trained and armed by Muammar Gadaffi of Libya. When he was killed, the gunmen escaped with their arms. We encountered some of them fighting with Boko Haram. Herdsmen that we used to know carried only sticks and maybe a cutlass to clear the way, but these ones now carry sophisticated weapons. The problem is not religious, but sociological and economic. But we are working on solutions," the President explained.
He expressed displeasure over what he called "irresponsible politics" that has been brought into the farmers-herders conflict, but assured that justice will be served to all those involved.
On Leah Sharibu, the schoolgirl from Dapchi still being held by Boko Haram because she refused to renounce her Christian faith, the President said his government is "quietly" working with the Red Cross and other international organizations to secure her release.